30 poems in 30 days, Boston culture, mignon ariel king, Mignon's Diary, National Poetry Month Challenge

NaPoMo 2014


Well, the NaPoMo poems have turned into a chapbook!¬† I’ve been very busy fighting my aching back/neck to do a lot of typing (30 poems plus editing volume three of the poetry trilogy to mail by May 1st); standing and sitting at readings.

So, pictures being worth the thousands words I haven’t posted this month, here are a few thousand words for you ūüėé

Making-DreamOn-SS-3.10.14Mignon Ariel King singing “Dream On” (March 10) in honor of Stephen Tyler’s birthday (March 26) – from the poem “gone girl” in What Goods a View of the Charles…?¬† (ALL CAPS Publishing, 2013).

photo by chad parenteau

Making-BPLminifeature-4.12.2014SURPRISE!  I read two poems in the Feature portion at the BPL, Copley for the Boston National Poetry Month Festival.  Read two on the open mic too.


Making-Rene.PTAO-April2014-chadpWith the Co-host of PTAOW (and my pal) Rene Schwiesow.  The features Timothy Gager and Chad Parenteau and the open mic were amazing!

April 13, 2014, Plymouth, MA


Happy National Poetry Month!¬† I’ll be writing 30 poems in the next 30 days, posting some of them here.¬† As an added challenge, I’m doing 26 Massachusetts-related poems in alphabetical order.¬† Cuz that’s the kinda Masshole I am!

April 1 


It isn’t Brookline.¬† Nor Brighton.¬† Between the A-Line
-used-to-be-here streets, fine Swiss sweets or plain
Dunkin crullers.  Food from West India. Brazil.  Italy.

“Funky” write-ups from new locals on Yelp. Used to be
an embarrassing zip code but full of one-bedroom steals.
So close to Harvard, now: solar-powered condominiums.

30 poems in 30 days, Mignon's Diary, Moby-Dick poems, National Poetry Month Challenge

April 1, 2013

Nothing to report here.¬† Slowly but surely plugging away at getting all 5 parts of my autobiography published.¬† So, I won’t do it before I’m 50, but by golly I’m taking a stab at coming very close – maybe “while I’m 50” ūüôā ¬† 3 down, 2 to go.¬† More info to come on who’s publishing “__: poems of tribute, volume two.”¬† Woo hoo!¬†¬† The memoir is done in terms of revising.¬† I’m dragging my feet trying to figure out how to format and upload the dang thing myself.¬† It makes my brain hurt.


Gotta go hang up my laundry.¬† No, not a glamorous writer’s life, but at least I wear clean socks.

I’ll be back….





30 poems in 30 days, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge, Poetry

Annual Sonnet

Perhaps Love?
Perhaps Love?

If one is going to post only 1 poem for NaPoMo, ‘Od’s teeth, let it be¬†a Shakespearean sonnet!¬† Don’t try this fast and loose version at home, kids.¬† Your English teacher will give you an “F”!

Oh, Husband…Poetry

This love affair has gone on
… long enough that friends
now voice concern
about my lust.
“Please, leave the house,
go try some other stuff,”
is what they plead.
“Variety’s a must.”
But you and I transcend
what others think.
Inherently, we’re bound
til death and past.
You breathe through me.
You are my food and drink.
“Unhealthy” is a charge
we will outlast. Variety is not
the spice of love–as committing
to a goal is our forte.
Our bond is a rare gift
from high above. Ignore
naysayers. They will go away.
And when I close my eyes
it will be clear that God spoke you
to life. His words are dear!

30 poems in 30 days, Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, MoJo! Writers, National Poetry Month Challenge, Poetry

NaPoMo: Week Three

NaPoMo 2011: 15-21

15 Deadline 

This is the day set to stop calculating,
to stop saving for something special.
He’ll never be enough, just a tax
on what’s left of my emotional budget.

16 What Longing Means

Sufre mas el que espera siempre
que aquel que nunca espero a nadie?

[Does he who always waits suffer more
than he who never waits for anyone?]
Pablo Neruda

When we were twenty-five a friend snorted
at the notion of deep love.  She said that if
her fiancé died, maybe mowed down by a car,

in ten years she’d be sad, but not devastated.
“As long as the mortgage is up-to-date…oh,
and my two children are well-fed, of course,

I’ll go on, be fine.”¬† She had never been madly
in love.  I sighed, said I envied her.  Then words
escaped me: And I feel very, very sorry for you.

17  In the Act

He came in like a monsoon, whining buckets about some chick.

It’s always the same. ¬†She done broke my heart¬†sniffle-sniff,

and now she’s after my money. ¬†Sure, sure, he’d had his share

of tarted-up dames on the side.  That was different, though.

When a woman cheats, it actually means something.  True.

It probably means this whiner adds nothing to the sheets 

but a lotta sweat.  The guy should carry a mop with him.

But I took his money, retained to shoot cheap photographs

of his wife’s cheap affair. ¬†But, the “other man.” ¬†He was

something special.  So I took him instead.  Left those two

cheaters with a full refund and their bigass house in Weston.

18  Not So Fast

I barely budged from the couch, per usual.

Watched half of Massachusetts descend

on Kenmore and Copley Square.  Saw 

the shot heard round the world refired 

on the six o’clock news. ¬†So hard to turn

pages of the free magazines picked up

from various spots all week to prep

for the Monday holiday.  Carbing up on

canned roast beef hash, I flip to an ad

for running shoes or Gatorade or….

Yay, Japan!!!  Nap time.  Again.  

19  The Rest


Oh, the rest of them, lying under sod,

their work all done now.  The sweetness

of resting under their laurels. Tourists walk

over the mossy mouths of them, bones

legendary, some cryptic. ¬†And it’s what

we all want on some level.  Just want

each time to finally get the writing right,

to leave a mark that warrants having

one’s name inked next to a tiny dot

on that map.  For one well-read girl

to become excited on a dreary field trip

for once: ¬†Really, Teacher?! ¬†She’s

buried¬†here? ¬†Oh, where? ¬†She’ll march,

practically run, to the other side

of Mary’s columned gazebo, to where

I’ve left my permanent marker. ¬†There

she’ll sit, legs pressed to her chest,

shaggy-edged, raggedy-paged, 

marked-up book of poems propped

on her knees. ¬†She’ll smile, that very¬†same¬†

odd smile I had first time my fingers 

traced “Longfellow.” And knowing

that she’s there, I’ll deliberately send¬†

a shiver through the page.  Just for her. 

Because she had the decency to care.

[“Before I Sleep” prompt]

20 Ran Into Tim in the Square

When I ran into Tim
in the Square, he said,
“Five bucks for a sandwich
over there!”¬† Really needing
some lunch and a poem,
I bought one, got one free,
then bounced home.

21 Wedding Bells

We were always better in the dark,
whether so heated by fierce debate
that we didn’t bother getting up
to turn on post-dusk artificial lights
or warmed through by the taste
of each other’s steaming tongue-tips.
Now we suffer congregate afternoons
of backyard barbecues with his oh-so
dull boss, my ever-so witty colleague.
Then there’s a ringing in our ears,
all other sounds moot as lips still move
in the fading sun.  All we hear is
a promise, a call that links our arms
in the crowd until one heartbeat
drowns out the sun, drives home
the crowd, and we begin once again
to honeymoon under the stars.

[Prompt: Illumination]

30 poems in 30 days, Arts, Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge

NaPoMo Poems: Week Two


8 Am I Up Yet?

It’s too early for this,

the furious sounds of hunger

and pure agony dueling

for my belly

as the sun beams obnoxious,


then kicks my back

once I’ve rolled away

from its insulting glare.

Haunting shouldn’t happen

after night.


9¬† “You’re an adult. You have a life.”*

Sometimes a girl-woman needs a reminder.

Maybe while eating microwaved-for-55-seconds meatballs

for breakfast…off toothpicks, like Cher’s kids in that movie.

DYS shoud’ve showed up long before Bob Hoskins.

No Bobby to cook me Easter ham, so after teaching

a night course, what will I eat for dinner at 11pm?

I’m a big girl now.¬†¬† Defrosted block of broccoli

with grated cheese?  Wash it down with Sam Adams? 

*Poster on the T** for Cambridge College

**Footnote to footnote:  The Tis the public transportation system in Boston, MA


10 I Get My Best Moves from Rockers

With each bus lunge, I nearly lap a stranger,

words–racing around the solitary track

in my brain that makes room once per year

for relay–knocking me off balance, almost¬†

onto my cowboy booties.  This passenger

doesn’t look too upset.¬† Latino dude,

maybe 30, almost getting a free lapdance

from this black velvet stretch of sistah.

Nigerian beads tap together, gypsy blouse

wafts a puff of grapefruit in his face.

He stares at the hipped belt that proclaims

Love in sweetheart pink, black-lined letters.

I’m a rock poet, baby, feel free to watch me

disembark from the ordinary then walk away.


11  Published in MoJo! Issue 9 


12  Soft Apprehension

I feel a soft apprehension in the dark,

a tiny fear at best gripping my chest.

Well, really, it’s the memory of fear.

Then I hear the hollow yet comforting

roar beside me and slide one knee

up and across the hair-covered beast.

He wakes as my hands press his wrists

to the bedpost, wrapping one with his tie,

the other with my bra.  He growls,

“Uh-oh.¬† Looks like you got me.”


13 What Was I Thinking?

If this isn’t a wish, it ought to be:

You, annoying as ever yet suddenly

too unusual to pass up.  Me, unusual

as ever, however annoying that is.

Then, there’s the drone of everyone

else.¬† But we don’t notice them enough

to be unsettled by their nice-nice

ways.  Did we ever really care

whether or not they’d just go or why

they’re here at all?¬† Well, don’t ask me.¬†

I just produce fleeting thoughts, never claim

they are, or might grow up to be, true.

[Prompt:  Write for 5 mts. only about something speedy.]


14 Branded for Life

Our mother thought it was dumb to toss perfectly good salt¬†over one’s shoulder.¬†¬†

Morton’s belonged on the shelf¬†next to Durkees’ black pepper¬†and the Lawry’s¬†

that made fried egg sandwiches even before Sam and I splatted ketchup on them.

I sprinkle white grains on pre-molded chicken burgers, then add curry powder 

and garlic, wrap them in Saran for tomorrow.  And I text Sam, who gets up early 

to cook his three sons pancakes before school.  I tell him I went into the downpour

to get Fritos to go with my Spaghetti-O’s, just like when we were kids. ¬†Why does¬†

rain make me feel 6?  I ask.   Sam texts back Cuz it makes me feel 5. 


30 poems in 30 days, Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge, Poetry

NaPoMo Poems: Week One

The annual challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Month (NaPoMo).¬† I’ll post seven at the end of each week.¬† Enjoy!

1…The Look of My Life

I can stride far enough away
to outwalk his voice,
Sleep late enough
–with all the covers–
to outlove his touch,
And taste so many
sweet treats that make
the salt of him obsolete.
Oh, but the silhouette of him,
alone there against the sun,
That’s what gets me each time.

2  How to Begin Writing Poetry

Begin with haiku.
Simple-looking lines, I know.
It’s all downhill now.

If you’re good enough
The wind will start to follow.
Run. Fill your word-kite.

[A loose take on a Japan tribute prompt]

3  The Bachelor King 

He’s in charge alright
of days and knights,
of jesters and astronomers,
commander of the gardeners
ruling the attendants
to his spleen,
but would he give
his kingdom
for a queen?

[Prompt: king]

¬†4¬† The Real ‚ÄúReasons‚ÄĚ


‚ÄúLa la la la LA la la la…

This sistah is fed the heck up

with scrubbing. Sweeping, tolerating

two trifling-mean half-witches

who’d stomp another woman to ashes

or chop off their own big toe

to get a man and their reasons have no pride.


Oh, maybe they’re right.

Why save it up for the ashes?

And love is great, a castle greater,

maybe someone to talk to

other than doves and squirrels.

I want out‚ÄĒdon’t care who I have to

sleep with. I’m longing to love him

just for a night.  Kissing and hugging

and holding him tight…


Too bad Black girls never get

fairy godmothers.

–Oh! Hey, who are you?

How did you get in here anyhow?

‘Scuse me?!¬† I’m going to the ball!

In a carriage a la pumpkin?

Only a special kinda fool

would believe that!

What are you selling…Avon?

–Whoa!¬† The room is spinning.

Nice threads. Smashing shoes.

Get it?  Glass slippers?  Smashing-shoes?

No?¬† You’re kinda strict to be

in the bippity-boppity-boo business.

Fine, I’ll play along.¬† Let the laundry wait.


Well, here I am at the ball,

dancing with him!

Mmm.  A prince indeed.

What did those chicks

put in my tea?¬† Now, I’m craving

his body. –Is this real?

Temperatures rising I don’t wanna feel.

I’m in the wrong place–!


Uh-oh!¬† I’m out of here.

Click, click, click, click, click, click


Stop chasing me, Mr. Perfect!

You only want me ’cause

I’m the one who’s running.

–And he stopped, looked confused,

like he’s never heard ‚ÄúNo!‚ÄĚ before.

Gave me time to get away,

his voice following, completing

…Please let me love you with all my might!!!


I dreamt, alone in my little hearth bed

until he manned up, figured out

how to find a lady‚ÄĒon one knee.

And,  in the morning when I rise,

no longer feeling hypnotized,

I find reasons, reasons, as his bride.

[Tinkered-with song lyrics from ‚ÄúReasons‚ÄĚ by Earth, Wind & Fire]

Prompt:¬† Rewrite a fairy tale.¬† This was a tough assignment for an alumna of¬†the¬†Grad Program¬†in English at Simmons.¬† Feminist writers¬†have rewritten –and feminist scholars have analyzed hell out of — fairy tales.¬† What’s left to say?

5  Funny Bones

It’s the stillness of this moment,
not the long-ago actions of making love,
that we treasure now.
Breath to breath and memory to memory,
fully clothed, with two Others
in the room.
These are the tests of love,
but also its marrow,
thinking together of when
our skin couldn’t get close enough
so we rubbed and pressed closer
trying to make our bones touch.
When they did, we fell off the bed.
We both laugh out loud now,
post-coital over after-party chat
that suddenly halts.
My husband shrugs at your girlfriend
as if to judge,
“What are these two fools
giggling about now?”

6  The Third Wheel

There is no reason for me to be here,
a part of extended foreplay as you two
play a maybe dance built for two.
Nasty business to build up the longing
in front of company that loves you well
but sleeps badly alone.  Buy a doll.
Let her pucker up for unrequited pleasure.
That’s what toys and¬†kinky videos are for.
I was manufactured for unconditional love.

7  Spring Outfits

The city is no longer
a curtain of cold frost
that laces over sidewalks.
Now the sun crochets
leafless trees’ branches
onto pavement instead.

[Prompt:  write a poem, 6 lines max, using curtain, cold, frost, lace]

30 poems in 30 days, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge, Poetry

NaPoMo Poems: 20-30

30  Words Are Not All

Poetry is not everything.¬† It’s neither vacation
from reality nor vocation to keep a roof
overhead.¬† It will not patch that roof’s leaks
or repair broken relations or teach a teen
to make his bed.  Not everyone considers
it useful to hear or worthwhile to write.
Most, actually, do not.  Perhaps some day
when I am colder than ever and hungriest
for something tangible to digest, I will then
renounce poetry for a hot sandwich and a
soft, cozy blanket.  I do not think this is so.

29 “Rolling Stones Steal Show!”

They were the headliners who stole my glory,
which is especially rude since family rumor
has it that I wasn’t supposed to make it.
Too tiny, too weak?  More like, already bored.
Then I saw it, out of the corner of my left eye:
snow.  Oh, what a lovely world to be part of.
I wondered what it felt like, how it tasted, and
the smell.  What does cold white smell like?
Then again, I could just disappear, and know
the world as a perfect blank slate.  But, wait!
What was that?  Not another newborn whining,
not whirring incubators, not even the lovely hum
of my father’s heart as he held me close, got me
to drink from the bottle.  It was music.  Sweet!
Not just any¬†sound blew the world’s mind, stealing
my tragic little deathbed scene.  It was Jagger.
It was Rock ‘n’ Roll!¬† It’s really why I’m here.

[Prompt: Write about the day you were born, from your perspective.]

28  What This Poem Will Do

[Removed 5/3/10]

27¬†¬† “Don’t Tread on Me!”

We were just oddgirls trying to be
normal, but it was so exhausting.
Yet, I kept it up, up to 25-ish.
All my best college friend’s pals
thought I was weird, didn’t get
why she hung out with me at all,
hated that I hated arguing, didn’t
need to make a point all the time.
I ignored them when I couldn’t
smile or change the subject, mostly
sat in the livingroom at parties,
watching TV with the guys.  Then
we were on Mass Ave, going to see
Mapplethorpe at the ICA.  That
tedious girl who always said mean,
mean things laughed,¬† “I can’t wait
to stomp on that damned flag!!”
I stopped mid-step:  What flag?
“Old Glory!”¬† She laughed, with
a chorus of hee haws.¬† You’re
kidding, right?
They were
serious, and I wouldn’t budge,
didn’t care about being yelled at,
insulted, told about freedom
of speech.  I exercised mine:
Go straight to hell! stomping
away.  I never went back, and
nobody ever, ever mentioned
that day again.

[Prompt:  Write about the day you first knew who you are.]

26¬† Usually, It’s Buy One Get One Free

It works with laundry detergent,
maybe go with the original scent
knowing you can break loose
with lavendar spring some day.
And two kielbasas is almost
unimaginable decadence: turkey
for your health on Wednesday,
but Saturday is full, fatty beef
with sauerkraut and noodles
wafting through the hallways.
Yet, the perfect One, that sweet,
sensible man you deserve will
make you cry out loud for more
over a sunny Saturday clothesline.

[Prompt:  Write down the next thing you hear and build a poem around it]

25   Removed for submission

24   At the End of the Day

After the ghosts have gone, we must pick up
chairs with broken rungs, whiskey glass shattered
on the bar.¬† Then there’s the half-hinged door
to mend, slat by slat.  One cheats at cards
and digs his spurs into the floor, always gouging
the newest planks of wood.  How do they manage
to tear the curtains?¬† We’d tell them to keep out,
run them out of town, but they draw a crowd
that more than pays for the mess, and the girls
just love them.¬† That’s singing cowboys for you.

23  Hapless Evil

I could have been that muse that causes men
to tear their hair out, pound upon their chests.
I could have been a vampish heroine
who haunts ex-loves with my round, silky breasts.
Or, what about a gypsy, tramp, and thief
they’ll miss when I am led away for good?
I’d steal the gold out of their very teeth
but make them feel that I’m misunderstood.
Fair Circe would have built a shrine to me.
Mae West would say, “Now that’s my kinda broad.”
Black widows would find other industry,
while strippers slid off poles just to applaud.
Yet all this time the world was not spellbound…
Oh, silly me, this charm book’s upside down!
[Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!!]

22  Tree

I thank you, tree, for
tossing pink petals on me.
They smell mighty sweet.

How I agonize
that someone might chop you down
to make a journal.

Yet without your help,
no one would know what I mean.
I must write things down.

[I lost the prompt, something like write three haiku(s) that are connected to the same title/concept]

21 Possible Confusion

Am I “sad, feeling guilty, maybe anxious?”
The women in the drug ad look thrilled
to feed the dog and take out the trash
wearing mint-green blouses and pearl earrings.

Are they immune, I wonder, to spiders
in the garbage pail, ringworm in fur?
Usually they don’t have paid work,
so somehow manage to keep perfect house.

I’m mad, feel boredom, perhaps rage.
If I had¬† a job, I’d fire me.

[Prompt:  Use the five bolded words, in fewer than 20 lines.]

20  Quoth the Author?

Dear Diary,

They call me paranoid, then talk about my low birth, drinking, penchant for young girls in white death gowns. Yet every word I write gets snapped up, no matter how gorey, sadistic, self-loathing. ¬†The cursed, hypocritical snobs! ¬†I’d like walls, ceilings, chandeliers to fall on their foolish, mulish heads. ¬†Being walled up to smother is too good for them. ¬†Fiends, I say. ¬†Fiends! ¬†A pox on them all. ¬†I would gladly die at 40 just to mock them forever as they try to equal my talent. Envy! ¬†Envy! ¬†But I grow weary. ¬†It’s midnight, and quite dreary.



[Prompt: Pick a historical figure and write a diary entry from his/her perspective…]

30 poems in 30 days, National Poetry Month Challenge

NaPoMo 2010: Poems 1-7

Yet again, I accept the challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days.  Here goes!

7  Stranger than Fiction

First, it’s annoying¬†that the special report interrupts
a soap opera love scene, police chief lying with
gushing chest wound as the woman who dumped
his brother to return to true love leans over,

whispering she cannot live without….¬† Flashbacks
must be next, but then the music, the type that always
makes you miss the soothing tones of Peter Jennings.
Fire on Beacon Street.  Pre-sprinklered, 1896.

Then the real heroes show up, heavy black coats
disappearing into thick black smoke, midday sun
bouncing off shiny helmets.  Even the River closes.
Reporters stuck in Cambridge.¬† Who’s home now?

Students, future famous musicians of Mass Ave.
But the post-squelching-of-flame drama is up,
on the roof. Captured by news copters.  Six men
frantically pump a chest before the feed goes black.

[Prompt: Sex and Death]

6 Chef’s Hell

[For Gordon Ramsay]

Those blazing hissy fits are bettered by
his  British accent, poured over ice.
And they deserve it, the flaming fools who
store raw poultry with thawing meatloaf.

Nor should appetizers be tepid, much less
“hideous.”¬† Tongue-skewering is earned

by the sous man who wilts everything
he touches.¬† And head waiter’s burden
is to warm disgruntled diners with bread.
But the viewer only partly salivates over

the entree to be.  She returns again, again,
for each week brings the guarantee of fire.

5 Poetry Lover

As always, the woman pretends to sleep,
but he whispers promises in her ear, trails
his lying tongue down her hot neck as if
somehow he is doing her a favor quenching
a thirst he created.¬† He’s pretty good at what
he does, the bastard, but only intermittently.

Besides, his generosity is spread too thin.
Tomorrow, he’ll be with another woman,
or man.  Sex, height, weight, family history,
level of education–he has no boundaries
whatsoever.  Any warm vessel will do, any
mind eager to wrap around him once more.

[Prompt:  Give poetry a personality and show how you really feel about it.]

4  A Song of Apostrophe

I sing to you of the past and a woman who first came
to New England across fields of maize in buffalo hide
and furry moccasins: your grandmother‘s grandmother’s
grandmother, buffeted by Canada’s wind and the foolish lips

who wanted to doom you by cultivating your future
before your birth could be imagined.  You are the future,
generation of girl who will never know the Black woman too,
who came by ship to make sons, to join the daughters of that

Indian woman who traveled on foot.  Women breathed in
hell on this Great Spirit’s Earth, just so you could exist.
Hear me in your dreams, see me in your mirror, feel me
when your hand can finally turn every knob it touches.

[The prompt is from a line of a poem, bolded in the text.¬† It’s also a tip of the hat to my favorite work of Latin literature, Virgil’s Aeneid. I’m not sold on the title yet, but at least I did something with that goofy prompt.]

3 Death of a Writer

[Prompt: “Write what you fear.”]

I’m a novelist.¬† 75.¬† I claim to retire every few years just to instill a sense
of panic in my fan base.¬† My life’s foundation is the stupidity of strangers.
The beach house invites sun, draws waves of adulation from clamdigger-

clad tourists, shocked to discover that the woman in white cotton tunic is
indeed me, strolling by barefoot and generous, flashing famous penholder
in the air.  I hate sun and sand, used to be a starving poet.  That was a life.

2 No Hedging Allowed ¬†(Not sure what’s wrong with the formatting!)

[Prompt: Gall]

The utter gall of the blessed,

complaining of imperfection

in the absence of want.
Rampant weeds in a garden
are a sign of owning “Home.”

What to do?  What to do?
–Dandelion whine. ¬†Or stew!

An absolute atrocity of excess,
whacking back the grass
to uproot natives for foreign shrub.
Too much preening of landscape
is a sign that one is lost.

Where to go?  Where to go?
–Just follow the signs!

1 Imperfect Ten

[Prompt: wrenched hearts]

I was toeing the edge, hanging ten
and ready to bounce, bounce, sail
into the air, splash into it with you.

Thank you for talking me down,
sparing the trouble of struggling
into racer-back gear just to get

drenched, with no coach to say
“Good job!¬† You gave your all.”
Nobody’s keeping score but me.

30 poems in 30 days, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge, Poetry

NaPoMo: Poem Per Day

I took on another 30 poems in 30 days challenge. ¬†Most of the poems are here; some have been or will be removed as I submit them for publication.¬†(Some publishers will not publish poems that have appeared, even as drafts, on blogs, so I can’t post all 30 poems here).

Sometimes There’s a Simple Solution.

The one who is not lying there/could have been.
–Patricia Beer, “Middle Age”

Maddening alone has a cure that often is
simply called ‘company’. I’m a woman, and
women like flowers. He brought me flowers.

You love me and want me to dream of you,
you say. He kissed my shoulder while I
read in bed–even though it was not bare,

so he had to do a little work first. Tug, tug,
on purple jersey, like a puppy. Just for a peek
of my flesh, a workspace. He did not mind

work. You talk about it all evening long. “Work.
Work!” you complain. Quite often. You make me
miss things I’ve opted not to miss. So I dream.

2 and 3 Removed for submission.

I Believe That Old Lech Has Mellowed.
He said, ‘Come for dinner. We’ll read your poems.’
.–Irene Koronas¬†¬†¬†¬†

It’s a festival. Happens once per year
in the basement of the BPL*
where some of the poets ain’t gettin’ any younger,
but we”ll spend the day there, what the hell.

We’ll talk about the cads we’ve known,
the chasers and seducers of note,
now propped on canes or attached to wives,
still winking and serving up a quote.

Every time we women get together
there’s plenty of mischief to be had.
But what do you expect from us poets?
-Whoa, look at him. –Hey, not bad!

*Boston Public Library: The annual festival is named Boston Poetry Marathon as the famous finish line is in front of the entrance to the library.

Feel Free to Wake Me.

A Death blow is a Life blow to some
Who till they died, did not alive become–
–Emily Dickinson¬†¬†¬†¬†

When I die, the Irish may wake me.
For I refuse to accept Life
as a foregone conclusion.

As the sawdust settles, I shall rise.
I’ll hear the laughter when I die.

If insipid notes must be offered,
let it be through Chants, and clapping,
and accordion Music, and dancing.

There’s no reason to grieve Mortality.
Save energy to celebrate Eternity.
It Loses Something in Translation.
(Removed: Accepted for publication!)
8 Removed for submission.

Method Actor Staying Alive
[Prompt: Mangled Lyrics]    

“Well, you can tell by the way I used to walk,
I’m a wounded man–no time to talk.”
Because I used to be Tony Manero,

sexy Italian dancefloor king. Well, before that
I played dumb, sweat-hog stupid, on tv:
“What? Where?” Later, I gained weight

as a bedraggled-drunk fallen angel.
I’ve gotten Shorty, been an army officer
but no gentleman. Well, you can’t tell

by my popularity, but women still want
me to be in sexy scenes in my movies.
And I’m telling you, it really hurts.

Sudden Deaths
[Prompt: < 20 lines, using: stain/caramel/cloud/iris/vacant]    

Here and there people lose their minds–
not gradually, first staring at the clouds,
irises vacant, next misunderstanding
simple concepts, suspicious of every

word, everyone. Rather, they go suddenly,
stars exploding, to become caramel stains
against the clouds, stains that will cause
other troubled minds to go nova too.

Desperately Seeking
[Prompt: Write to a specific audience.]    

I’d like to say that I have never done
This before, but we both know

That that is not entirely truthful. No,
I’ve never said a word aloud, nor written

Down my heartfelt prayers. Yet it was
Always there–the longing, questioning

Whether I had done something to deserve
So much agony, solitude, in so little time.

But what I really want to focus on now
Is the positive, the future, the devotion

I have always held, attempted to quiet,
Unvoiced because it could not possibly

Be worthy of one such as Yourself.
But all the misery of others came too.

No one is spared, so now I ask You aloud
To distribute that which we all have given,

Enough for everyone, for as the song says,
Lord, “What the world needs now is love.”

12-14 Removed for submission.
15 Turn of Phrase

 My inner voice has one foul tongue,
and lately she’s been lashing me hard.
There isn’t enough cocoa butter balm
for the welts on my back, salve
for these scars on my knees, yet
she is repeatedly beating me down.

I know all about my imperfections,
been hearing about ’em my whole life
–but most of that time the voice
was a honey-tongued best friend.
Whatever your complaints, please wait
till she’s done maligning my name.

16 Removed for submission.

18 In Other Words

She doesn’t fear change, merely dislikes it,
same for commitment. If she cared for it,
she’d have moved elsewhere long ago.
Rude of change, she thought, to move in
next door as if it owned the neighborhood,
taking down curtains not yet bleached out.

“Change” was just another word for waste.¬†

19 Spring Cold

 A sneeze and a wheeze are swizzled
by a pink flamingo. Then a faerie
drizzles buttercup dew to seal your
eyelids. Garlic around window frames
won’t help. It only works on vampires.

Silver bullets won’t blast it out,
no matter how a werewolf might
yelp. Drink some gin. Take a nap.
Nothing beats it, so why not dream
of technicolor wings while you can?

20 From An Athlete Lying Low

The Sox are winning 9 to 1
while two Americans lose their run.
A Kenyan woman wins again,
as Ethiopia gains new fame.

I, however, barely budge,
eating corn chips, craving fudge.
Boston sports earn worldwide fame.
Don’t glare at me. I’m not to blame.


22 Saved Earth

The dirt transforms itself, transposes,
pot chips, transports clay pipes once

transmogrified by fire, sealed from water
yet carried by it into history. Meaning

is translated to other cultures that lap
life up on cool tongues, transmit it over fire

to each other and beyond; so we transcend
mere fact to become artifact.

[Very rough draft. Happy Earth Day!!]

23¬†¬†A classic Shakespearean sonnet, but I’m submitting it for publication.

Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!

[I’m still trying to learn how to write prose poems. How’s this?]

25 Considering Spring

Taking in the sights that I will miss
When outer eyes cease to do their work,
I remember forehead’s touched and eyelids kissed,
And continue to admire God’s best work.

Watching men digging up the street
Or playing tennis when they should be working,
I pause to note each movement of their feet,
While check-listing that every muscle’s working.

So when my joints are weak, my spine is bent,
I’ll close my eyes to dream how Springs were spent.

26 I Woulda

[For Daniel]

This isn’t one of my better love poems.
It’s just one I coulda written years ago.
But how were you to know I’d never,

ever, love anyone better? I sat there
on your stoop for three hours after,
not sure where to be next. My home,

it seemed, had vanished. I would have
followed you, woulda sold that damned
13-inch TV to buy a ticket, flung all my

books into the trash. And I did write
a poem about it then, “Amtrakking
for Love” –something like that, yet

it was worse than this.  But the point
is, you said I love her. Then you left.
Damn, you really shoulda said too.

27 “And the lights….”*

Lived here my whole life 
without ever seeing the lights out 
on the train platform. For a sec, 
I’m Charlton Heston in that movie¬†
about being the last human left 

as zombie-like blueish creatures 
go right on with what they’re doing,¬†
plodding toward the lemming-raiser, 
aka, escalator. That time Kenmore flooded 
I went to see the water which was 

all the way up to the second stair 
of the station. A stranger emerged 
from the faceless pedestrians to say, 
“Don’t worry. They’ll fix it,” because I was¬†
bawling like it was the end of civilization. 

* from the Bee Gees lyrics: ¬†…and the lights all went down in Massachusetts….” ¬†(Don’t bother looking for it on YouTube. ¬†I’m a huge fan, and I have to say it’s their very worst song–and depressing as heck!)

28  Must I?

I’ve loved entirely too much¬†
entirely too infrequently–¬†
thought craving a lover’s touch¬†
not love, but mere indecency. 

There he is, The One, 
that man I thought a myth. 
Why must I smother hope again, 
to live without his kiss? 

29  At the Main Street Cafe

At the Main Street Cafe the windows 
are valanced in bright, white lace, 
and the hunter wallpaper has diamonds. 
I’m ostensibly here for the competition,¬†

but the wooden booths, friendly server, 
white tin ceiling make me want to 
relocate. Besides, the American cheese 
omelet and I are bonding, even though 

my eyes are riveted to the door in case 
the biker poet is coughed up by the wind. 
The words are relayed, slammed like nails 
into the wooden booths, but really this eve 

is about Michelle, dark-rimmed eyes, a voice 
making it clear that her past is darker. Who 
would expect a ride through Canton to reveal 
where one of the best gems is hiding out? 

30  Sentenced to 30 Days

It was a month of what Sundays 
should always be: relax and do your time, 
peek outdoors and complain about confinement 

even while escaping in your mind for a bit. 
Make a little small talk with the other inmates 
who’ll tell you to give yourself a break.¬†

On the outside, you’re a deadbeat, blight,¬†
responsible for the downfall of civilisation, 
but in here, you are a legend in your own time. 

Yee haw!!!!  Made it through another 30-in-30 with my poetic dignity intact.  Thank you to friends who read and commented!